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Davis and White, Shibutanis sticking with Zoueva

Top two U.S. ice dancing teams remaining at Arctic Edge Ice Arena

Marina Zoueva will remain as Meryl Davis and Charlie White's primary coach.
Marina Zoueva will remain as Meryl Davis and Charlie White's primary coach. (Jodi Levinson)

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By icenetwork.com
(06/05/2012) - The top two U.S. ice dancing teams, 2010 Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White and 2011 world bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, will continue to train at the Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich., with Marina Zoueva, U.S. Figure Skating announced Monday.

The announcement comes a day after Arctic Edge Ice Arena in Canton, Mich., made the decision to cease its relationship with coach Igor Shpilband.

"Igor and I built this program together, and it was great. Unfortunately, we are going in different directions," Zoueva said. "The skaters are very talented and focused. They have very strong work ethics, and together we will move forward."

Zoueva and Shpilband, who began coaching together in 2002, are credited with building the world's top ice dancing program at the Canton rink. Their pupils, including Davis and White, the Shibutanis and Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, have won seven of the last nine world ice dancing medals. Virtue and Moir, and Davis and White finished one-two, respectively, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Davis and White, the reigning four-time U.S. champions and 2011 world champions, had trained under Zoueva and Shpilband since 2006.

"After a long and rewarding partnership with Igor Shpilband, we hold the firm conviction that Igor's expertise and investment in our career have been integral to our success," Davis said. "We will have nothing but fond memories and sincere appreciation for our time with Igor."

The Shibutanis, the reigning two-time U.S. silver medalists, had trained under the former coaching pair since 2007.

"Our experience with Igor has been very rewarding," Alex Shibutani said. "He is a great coach, and we appreciate everything he has done for us."

Virtue and Moir have not publicly stated where or with whom they will train going forward, although Zoueva and Arctic Edge General Manager Craig O'Neill confirmed to the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that the rink's top three teams would be remaining in Canton.

When contacted by the Free Press on Monday, Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada's director of high performance, wrote, "We are aware of the coaching situation in Canton, but do not have much information, other than what has been reported as we have not discussed it with Tessa and Scott."

Information from U.S. Figure Skating was used in this report.